President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the country has witnessed rapid increase in domestic rice production from the incentive given to farmers and processors over the years as a resolution of producing what we consume and patronising locally made products.
Buhari dropped this hint while commissioning a large-scale integrated rice mill located in Sheda, Kwali Area Council, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The President, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, said that in the last eight years, his administration had intensively promoted and supported agricultural development in the country through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, the Fertilizer Initiative, Grain Aggregation Centres, and Special Agro-industrial Processing Zone Programme.
He noted that the commissioned, large scale integrated rice mill was one of the 10 mills embarked upon by his administration for the purpose of expanding domestic rice production and achieving self-sufficiency in the country. The President stated that the country had witnessed increased output in the agricultural sector, stressing that his administration had clearly demonstrated commitment at addressing critical infrastructural projects and keeping with the ideals of the Change Agenda, to ensure prudence in the management of public resources and value for money, considering the huge investments in the project.
“I am very glad that today, the country’s paddy yield per hectare has significantly increased to the extent of being adequate in raw material production. It shows the result of determination for backward integration and economic diversification within the ambit of comparative advantage of natural resource utilisation”, he noted.
Speaking further, Buhari expressed optimism that successive administrations in Nigeria would continue to sustain all the institutional capacitation put in place, in the areas of infrastructure, research, credit, insurance, quarantine, mechanisation and input to make the country food secure. He, however, urged every Nigerian to invest in any aspect of the agricultural value chain by using available incentives, undertaking agribusiness, and aiding food production in the country. The Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mustapha Shehuri, explained that the 10 integrated rice mills that Mr. President approved were under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) model based on the Build, Operate, and Own. He added that the successful execution of the project had acted as a catalyst for the speedy delivery of the remaining mills located in Adamawa, Bayelsa, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Niger and Ogun states.